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  5. "Am Anfang war das Wort."

"Am Anfang war das Wort."

Translation:In the beginning was the word.

October 15, 2015



Und das Wort war Mit Gott, und das Wort war Gott.


Und dann hat er gesagt: ,,Ein Mann, der mit der Frau seines Nächsten die Ehe bricht, wird mit dem Tod bestraft, der Ehebrecher samt der Ehebrecherin."


Ja, wirklich toll, dieses Alte Testament.


„Am Anfang war das Wort" ist Johannes 1:1, und das ist das neue Testament.


Mein Kommentar bezog sich auf den Ehebrecher-töten-Quatsch.


und das erste Kapitel des Roemer-Briefes bezieht sich auf biertopf...


@WolfgangMakoto: Denn Gottes Zorn wird vom Himmel her offenbart über alles gottlose Leben? Oh ❤❤❤❤, jetzt hab ich Angst :P


I would like to see more examples from literature.


Ich auch. Vielleicht Göthe, Schiller, Kafka...


I am not a believer, but even I recognise "Am Anfang war das Wort" as equivalent to "In the beginning was the Word". No, we're not learning religion, and we're not insulting atheists, Moslems or other non-Christians. Neither are we living in a bubble. One non-religious person makes a valud comment about translation and is castigated for it. Really? I urge people not to be so touchy. We are all here to learn.


Totally agree. I too am not a believer but I respect and am in awe of those who do.


Which comment is that? I only read comments that basicly attacked people for saying a correct translation should be accepted. Basicly you should know this quote and nothing else us acceptable and otherwise you are against religion or at least culture and you are stupid if you don't recognise the quote...

Really what is against also accepting an actual translation of the phrase besides the idiomatic quote. There is no reason to only accept the quote as the correct answer.

Edit maybe I misread your post and you meant the same as I did.. Sorry for the mixup


The English should capitalize ‘Word’, if this is from John 1:1.


was logos capitalized in the greek?


In the original Greek there is no capitalisation of any words (nor any spaces between the words).


Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde. Und die Erde war wüst und leer, und es war finster auf der Tiefe; und der Geist Gottes schwebte auf dem Wasser. Und Gott sprach: es werde Licht und es ward Licht. Und Gott sah daß das Licht gut war. Da schied Gott das Licht von der Finsternis, und nannte das Licht Tag und der Finsternis Nacht.


What most people aren't realising is that this sentence is actually a valuable part of this lesson for a reason that is irrespective of where this sentence has come from.

One of the words that has been included in this lesson is the word "wort". Duolingo often tries to show the words that we are bring taught in other situations in order to demonstrate how else they can be applied.

Theologically speaking, the word "Word" in English (with a capital "W") actually carries a whole set of additional connotations that the word "word" (lower case "w") does not. I'm not going to go into the details here, but feel free to look it up for yourself if you are interested. This is a fact of the English language, regardless of whether the speaker has any interest in the Bible.

From this exercise, I learnt that Germans use "das Wort" to mean the same as what the English would mean by "the Word". Without this, I probably wouldn't have learnt it. This alone makes it a useful part of the lesson. It is exactly the same as where this lesson has included the phrase "Ich gebe dir mein Wort". I am familiar with the English expression "I give you my word", but it's idiomatic and I wouldn't have known if Germans use the word "Wort" in the same context if it hadn't also been included as an example.


Don't get be tricked by the capital letter though. It is a noun so it would be written with a capital regardless.

There are two meanings of Das Wort. It means just the word aswell as The Word. So you would be incorrect if you are saying it is the equivalent of the English Word, it is just one of the meanings. Mostly it just means the word though, just like in English that is used more often in every day life than The Word.

Extra info; in dutch it is also I give you my word (ik geef je mijn woord) And I believe in other germanic languages aswell and also in Greek word can mean word of honour. And if you say the literal translations of I give you the word (or I give the word to you) means you let another speaker have their turn. But that is only used when there are official speakers. Not necessarily very official like a government speech our court hearing but also in a meeting. (In Dutch and German, I'm less sure if this use of the word is the same in other germanic languages, but there is a good chance. English is often the only outlier)


What's wrong with this translation: "This word was in the beginning"?


And what's wrong with this translation: "At the beginning was the word"?


It's a fixed expression thanks to the New Testament, as Mizinamo has pointed out already.



that may be true, but "at the beginning" is just a correct a translation and is even a more literal one. Expecting someone to know that this is a specific quotation from the German translation of the Bible and to know exactly how it is written in the English translation of the Bible to get the right answer is a bit of stretch. Shouldn't providing a translation that conveys the correct meaning and is grammatically correct be enough?


"At the beginning" should be accepted as it is a correct English translation. We are here to learn languages, not the Bible.


As a phrase on its own, "Am Anfang" could probably be translated to either "in the beginning" or "at the beginning", with both having roughly the same frequency over the years:


It appears, though, that auf Deutsch one won't often find "im Anfang":


As part of the larger phrase/sentence, though, "In the beginning" is the more idiomatic, due to the influence of the Bible, regardless of how you feel about the Bible.


it's interesting though that at one time it was "im Anfang war das Wort" in the German translation of das Neue Testament. This is how Goethe relates the phrase in Faust!

"Geschrieben steht: 'Im Anfang war das Wort!' Hier stock ich schon! Wer hilft mir weiter fort? Ich kann das Wort so hoch unmöglich schätzen, Ich muß es anders übersetzen...Mir hilft der Geist! Auf einmal seh ich Rat, Und schreibe getrost: Im Anfang war die Tat!"


learning culture is part of learning a language - deal with it


I see the argument that we should learn cultural references with a language, but cultural references require a context. DuoLingo gives us sentences absent context to translate -- that's kind of their thing! -- so I don't think we should be penalized for correctly translating this sentence as "the word was at the start/beginning" if, in the context of translating individual (and sometimes silly) sentences, our minds did not go straight to the Bible.


@Carl_Ramrod: "The word was in the beginning" is an accepted English translation, too. "Das" cannot be translated with "this".


und das Wort war Gott.


Und die Void! - Terry Brooks reference.


en Archêi ên ho Logos - besonders die altgriechische Form ist aufschlussreich, da es auch erkenntnistheoretisch höchst fruchtbar interpretiert werden kann: das (logisch) Erste ist der Begriff (der der Erfahrung notwendigerweise vorausgehen muss). Dass der Begriff Erkenntnisgrund und nicht Erkenntnisresultat ist, ist der Grundgedanke des philosophischen bzw. erkenntnistheoretischen Idealismus (vgl. Zeidler 2016a, 11ff). Der Universalienstreit ruft..


Is using "at the beginning" wrong?


Not grammatically, but the English phrase is "In the beginning was the Word." It's an idiomatic expression in the Old Testament. (The whole verse is : In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.)


Actually, it's the New Testament: John 1:1.


I think this statement isn't good for tests, because understanding it requires knowledge of Christianity.


I think this statement isn't good for tests, because understanding it requires knowledge of Christianity.

Eh? How so?

  • am Anfang = in the beginning
  • war = was
  • das Wort = the word

All pretty basic and, by themselves, not connected to religion in any way, shape, or form.


"Am Anfang" can also be translated as "at the beginning", but that is marked wrong by DuoLingo, because it wants the translation used in the English translation of the Bible. That in turn requires the reader to recognize that this is a phrase from the German translation of the bible. That is the problem here: the fact that DL only accepts one of several correct translations, one that requires knowledge of a religious work in two languages to get right.


"Am Anfang" can also be translated as "at the beginning", but that is marked wrong by DuoLingo

That would surprise me -- as far as I can tell, "At the beginning was the word" is also accepted.

Do you have a screenshot of that translation being rejected? That would be helpful to find out what might have happened. Upload it to a website, please (e.g. imgur) and tell us the URL.

DL only accepts one of several correct translations

Duolingo accepts 26 translations for this sentence.


Nein, am Anfang war das bestimmte Artikel "DAS".


This isn't as bad as the Hawaiian course, which uses obscure religious sentences, but there shouldn't be any religious quotes on Duo.


Totally agree! If they want to use religious references, they should be in the "Religion" part of the course and the quotes should not only be christian.

I am Polish and I took shortcuts in Polish course just to see what the course covers and most of the sentences were about religion, war or Germans! This is outrageous


What does this even mean lmao


Just some stupid bible quote that shouldn't even be here.


Are you saying that you don't want to learn any quotes/phrases that you disagree with? You want to insulate yourself from any ideas that you don't like?

Personally, I think it's important to understand both sides of any particular argument.


Both sides? Which sides? I don't see any quotes from Koran or Torah here. And in "science" part they gave a sentence "this is just a theory" whereas a scientific theory is in fact supported by a vast body of evidence and is the most reliable and comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature. So which sides are the both sides? The course is christian-washed.


The second "the" is missing


This is a quote from the Bible, John 1:1, That says, "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God." Just so you know... :-)


And the Word was with God and the Word was God.


Ugh -- I hate coming across ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ Bible quotes when I'm just trying to study a language. Can't you please leave religion out of it?


Ar dtús do chruthaigh Día neamh agus talamh.


there was a word at the beginning


"a word"? The German sentence has das Wort.


To some this sentence looks as if it had no meaning, but actually it is the most meaningful sentence on duolingo.


I live in Quebec where all religious signs are banned from non-religious schools and government offices. Teachers and government officials are not allowed to manifest or refer to religious subjects. I find it a great policy. Duo, follow please.


I refer you to my previous comment. Religion is part of our collective history and contains some great literature. In my view, to try to ignore it would be our loss. Nobody is forcing us to practise religion.

Your point about the use of religion in schools, however, is well made. There should be no religious indoctrination in schools, and religion should feature as part of social studies in a comparative context only.


Maybe religion is part of "your" .... but Duo is a world-wide language course. Nobody must impose his values as a leaning tool on others. Why should we learn German language through a sentence that for individuals such as myself who has no knowledge of such material, the sentence is just something absolutely meaningless? Imagine if you were interested in learning Arabic and they took sentences from Koran!!


Talking about religion, using a sentence that references religion, nor quoting from a religious text is NOT "imposing" anyone's values on learners.

Religion is--like it or not--part of your history as well. Or are you saying that all of your ancestry were atheists and somehow lived in an isolation so that the Greeks , the Romans, the Chinese, the Persians, the Mayans, or any of the other major civilizing cultures across the globe had absolutely no impact on you. (And if you choose to make such a claim, I would have to ask how you came to have a computer/smartphone given that those were developed by people who trace their history, art, and science back through some/most/all of those cultures.)

It would be grand if people like you would stop with the hypersensitivity to even hearing about an opposing viewpoint long enough to listen and perhaps learn from people who live or think differently. Trust me, no one believes that presenting a quote from the Bible, Torah, or Koran now and again is going to convert you. This is not a question of tricking anyone into adopting a moral code. The only indoctrination that's contemplated is that of German grammar and vocabulary, which is what the discussions here should be limited to.


People like you sounds rather hateful. And hypersensitivity goes both ways..

And there are many examples one has a point where it actually ís forced upon you.

This isnt one though. It is just exposure to. It is just like knowing the word bible. Nothing wrong with knowing how that book is called. Because for better or for worse it did play an important part in society. Knowing what the book is called is just knowledge.


I want to avoid incomprehensible quotes from ancient texts, which are familiar only to some users from a particular religion. This is how the word "religion" got into our debate. Such sentences should not be placed in teaching material for world-wide users. We are only beginners in learning German and we need clear, modern, useful and current expressions. The sentence I commented, does not meet any of my expectations. Such an open minded person as you would easily understand this. All other things about how our ancestors thought or opening mind to moral values of others should be done in a language which you master. My German is yet not good enough.


Am => an dem => in the
Anfang => beginning
war => was
das => the
Wort => word

Seems very straight-forward to me. One doesn't need to know or recognize the metaphorical/metaphysical meaning.

I suspect that "At the start was the word," might also be acceptable.

The most incomprehensible component I can see is "start/beginning of what?"

Die Eule is teaching grammar, vocabulary, and some phrases. No particular challenge has to be something one would ever use himself to be useful for the purpose of teaching the components.


Well Martin Luther's translation of the Bible into German is considered s great literary work.


Would you accept a quote from a famous movie? As long as the literal translation is accepted instead of just the idiomatic one and the sentences itself doesnt contain any "values" or how you should live your life it is OK imo. There isn't any imposing in this sentence imo.

Or perhaps proverbs and sayings. Many have worked their way into our lives. Would you also have a problem with one of those proverbs? In both I don't think you would have an issue.

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